Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Splash of Colour

Why don't we paint our houses like we paint beach huts?  Multi-coloured in Muizenberg, South Africa. 

Colour.  Now I love black and white photography; it's tonality, contrast and how the absence of colour draws your eye to different points of focus within an image.  But I'd hate it if I had no colour in my life.
A few years ago I returned to the UK from a few years living and working overseas.  I got back a couple of days before Christmas, pretty much bang on the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year.  By February I was sat in an opticians having somebody explain to me that my perceived deterioration in sight was actually down to the fact that my eyes had just got used to bright light and over-saturated colours in the tropics and were struggling to readjust to the low, flat, grey light of a British winter.  Relieved that my eyes weren't failing me, I made hasty plans to leave the country again and get some colour back on my retinas.

Those hard to miss flags that the lifeguards almost always stick right in front of the best peak. 

Colour is so important in our everyday lives:  Red means stop, green is environmentally friendly, blue for boys etc etc...  Colour can trigger feelings and emotions, sooth or agitate, persuade, attract, repel, suggest warmth or cold, keep us awake or send us to sleep.  Did you know that some police drunk tanks are painted pink to calm down violent prisoners?  Companies spend vast sums of money undertaking research into colour perception and reactivity to make sure that their product or logo is the one selected by consumers, and colours have distinct and important roles in the histories of cultures and religions.

Aladdin's Cave, lanterns hang from a shop roof, Dubai.

The Asian Subcontinent is one colourful place, local women wearing saris to the beach, Sri Lanka.

The way we see it, sunlight is colourless.  But cast your mind back to your science lessons at school, and that lesson about rainbows and the colour spectrum.  White light contains the full spectrum of colours as seen in a rainbow when that white light is refracted through water droplets.  Our eyes and brain see the colour that an object reflects, so a red apple absorbs all of the other colours of the spectrum and reflects the red light rays which our eyes receive and our brain processes.

Take a quick look around you and appreciate all of the colour in your life with fresh eyes.

A double rainbow over Tower 24, just before a massive storm.  Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast, Australia.

My friend Scotty is one colourful character, in his sartorial choices as well as all the others that he makes.

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